Home Page Link AgBioWorld Home Page
About AgBioWorld Donations Ag-Biotech News Declaration Supporting Agricultural Biotechnology Ag-biotech Info Experts on Agricultural Biotechnology Contact Links Subscribe to AgBioView Home Page

AgBioView Archives

A daily collection of news and commentaries on
ag-biotech.


Subscribe AgBioView Subscribe

Search AgBioWorld Search

AgBioView Archives

Subscribe

 


SEARCH:     

Date:

September 7, 2000

Subject:

Violent Threats Against Farmers; Gangs Against Modern

 

Dear All on the AgBioView listserv:

I am copying to the AgBioView listserv a message I received on an
anti-agrobiotechnology listserv that I read. I copy to this list because
the tone and threat are frighteningly serious. I felt that the AgBioView
readers should be aware of this threat. Please remember that I am sending
this to AgBioView for your information. I am not the author of the message
copied between the *** lines. Moreover, I am both a supporter of
agrobiotechnology and opposed to the totalitarian and terroist tone and
tactics of those who wrote the message.

*******************************************************************
Date: 5 Sep 2000 17:33:10 -0000 From: "gbvhsdh dgsg"
Subject: Genetics action info.

Please copy to all your media contacts:
1) To all farmers growing or preparing to grow GM crops- KNOW THIS:

On the night of 25/8/00 we sabotaged farm machinery belonging to Bob
Fiddeman, NFU spokesperson on biotechnology. Four of his tractors and his
'dominator' combine harvester had wires cut, locks glued, and corrosives
poured over connections.

NO GMOs was sprayed over the machines.

The aim was not to cause maximum damage but to send you a message. If you
continue your complicity with the corporations, your business and private
property WILL be attacked.

Up until now those resisting GM technology have been patient with you- NO
LONGER.

Your security preparations will do you no good- Fiddeman has already had
crops on his land attacked and the farmhouses were only 20 feet away from
the machinery. Floodlights, alarms, dogs, security guards- it makes no
difference to us- we are committed.

If we can hit his machinery then we can hit yours.

If you have crops in the ground- plough them up. If you have not yet
planted- don't start. YOU DO NOT WANT TO ENTER THIS CONFRONTATION.

If you do not wake to the public's hatred of GMOs and to your
responsibilty to the living earth; you will instead wake to your machines
and property in pieces.

The colonisation of the seed will be resisted.

******************************************************************

Many issues surround agrobiotechnology. The totalitarianism of many who
oppose agrobiotechnology is one of those issues.

Drew
Drew L. Kershen
Earl Sneed Centennial Professor of Law
University of Oklahoma College of Law
+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+

Gangs Against Modern Agriculture:
Tax-free money takes anti-agriculture movement to the streets.
by Patricia Peak Klintberg.
http://www.agweb.com/analysis/analysis.cfm?id=11370&service=21

(Copyrighted content, as first published in the September, 2000 edition of
FARM JOURNAL, and reproduced through an exclusive re-distribution rights
agreement between AgWeb.com and Farm Journal, Inc.)

A growing gang of environmental organizations is targeting modern
agricultural practices for eradication. Funded with tax-free dollars,
establishment environmental groups are nurturing activist offspring to
influence the international policy agenda.

The most radical activists are taking their fight to the streets of the
world's cities and disrupting gatherings like the World Trade Organization
(WTO) meeting in Seattle last year. These activists are against
biotechnology and large-scale animal feeding systems. Some are even
opposed to capitalism and trade.

Driving the movement are philanthropic foundations funding nonprofit or
nongovernmental organizations--also known as NGOs--with tax-exempt status
under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) code. The
Internet and e-mail are valuable communication tools for these groups,
expanding the reach of many of the smaller organizations while reducing
organizing costs.

Seat at the table. Many of the organizations out to kill modern farming
practices are taking advantage of United Nations (UN) structures to
influence global food and environmental policies. The UN has increasingly
become the venue for hammering out international rules--ranging from
biotech trade to reducing global warming--that have a direct impact on
U.S. farmers and ranchers.

"Consultative status" allows representatives of the groups to attend any
UN meetings that are open to the press. The UN also has a trust fund to
help NGO members from the developing world defray travel costs to attend
its meetings.

Since 1996, the UN has granted consultative status to 1,600 NGOs,
including Greenpeace International, Friends of the Earth, the Sierra Club,
Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Defense.

"Certain NGOs claim to represent 'civil society.' The UN supports that
claim by granting these and other groups consultative status, while at the
same time using the fact of their being consulted as a means of
legitimizing its own actions," says Julian Morris of the Institute of
Economic Affairs (IEA) in London.

"It is a little more than ironic that these fans of bootstrap democracy
should criticize other international organizations (such as the WTO) on
the grounds that they are not 'open' and 'accountable,' " adds Morris. His
organization is a free-market think tank funded by individuals,
corporations and foundations.

Fewer tools. Biotech supporters, including the majority of U.S. farm
groups, face hurdles in participating in UN events. Many are not
international in scope. They may lack the human or financial resources to
clearly focus on the global policy agenda. For example, the American Farm
Bureau Federation has a total budget of about $18 million, compared with
$126 million for Greenpeace International. Some groups are unaware of the
diverse agendas represented at these international meetings.

Most ag groups also do not have the financial advantage of tax-exempt
status, or the ranks of true believers willing to mount counter protests.
"It is overwhelming," says Rosemarie Watkins of the American Farm Bureau
Federation. "Environmentalists have thought, they have planned and they
have moved into international forums while we stayed focused on domestic
policy."

Activists were front and center at the UN's Biosafety Protocol talks in
Montreal last January, called to finalize international rules on
genetically modified (GM) seed and crop trade. Activists succeeded in
requiring exporters of GM seeds and live animals to secure approval from
importing countries prior to shipment.

While some activists have focused on the details of global agreements,
others have joined an amorphous, leaderless force of labor, environmental,
consumer and even anarchist protesters at large political or economic
gatherings.

During anti-biotech and anti-global street fighting at the WTO meeting in
Seattle last year, and again at World Bank and International Monetary Fund
(IMF) meetings in April in Washington, D.C., "teach-ins" were led by
members of the International Forum for Globalization. The Sausilito,
Calif., forum comprises 60 organizations from 25 countries.

"Vandana Shiva of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and
Ecology told of multinational corporations enslaving all life in their
quest to commodify everything. This nonsense was lapped up by the 2,500 or
so young protesters, who were already set to take direct action against
the WTO," Morris says.

Shiva, a well-traveled activist from India, believes genetically modified
crops mean nothing but trouble for small-scale diverse farming. She faults
the Green Revolution of the 1960s as "counterproductive and inefficient"
because it led armers to single-crop wheat, rice and corn. Monoculture "is
a recipe for starving people, not for feeding them," Shiva says in her
book Stolen Harvest, Hijacking the Global Food Supply.

Some of the groups targeted the Republican and Democratic conventions in
Philadelphia and Los Angeles. Their next international venue for
protesters will be World Bank and IMF meetings in Prague Sept. 26-28.
Among the critics of the demonstrators is Patrick Moore, a Greenpeace
founder and former president. He says environmental groups abandoned
science and logic in the mid-1980s, when mainstream society had adopted
the reasonable parts of the environmental agenda.

"This was because many environmentalists couldn't make the transition from
confrontation to consensus, and could not get out of adversarial
politics," says Moore. "This particularly applies to political activists
who were using environmental rhetoric to cover up agendas that had more to
do with class warfare and anti-corporatism than they did with the actual
science of the environment."

There were 47,000 tax-exempt U.S. foundations in 1999, double the number
of 10 years ago. With stock market wealth fueling a crescendo in
donations, gifts to environmental and wildlife groups rose by 11% last
year to $5.83 billion.

Thirteen years ago, foundation staff activists organized the Environmental
Grantmakers' Association (EGA) to cooperate on environmental grants. EGA
has since created numerous subgroups to target biotechnology, confined
animal agriculture, trade and globalization.

The vast majority of these foundations are at odds with the work of the
Rockefeller Foundation, which has spent $100 million on plant biotech
research over the years and developed vitamin A rice to prevent blindness
in the developing nations. "The only foundation with people on the ground
with real experience in agriculture is ourselves," says ecologist Gordon
Conway, Ph.D., who is president of the Rockefeller Foundation.

Ties that bind. EGA members opposed to biotech and modern agriculture
often make grants to each other.

For example, in 1998 the Institute for Agricultural and Trade Policy
(IATP), a Minneapolis-based NGO opposed to U.S. trade policy, received
$75,000 from the Foundation for Deep Ecology to research ending industrial
agriculture. The Global Resource Action Center for the Environment
(GRACE), which has connections to universities, UN agencies and activist
groups, is using its Factory Farm Project to organize grass-roots
opposition to large livestock operations in the United States and Canada.

The year-old Turning Point Project (TPP) buys full-page ads in The New
York Times attacking biotechnology and industrial agriculture. As a
tax-exempt NGO, TPP receives the Times' discounted $87,777 page rate,
$30,000 less than the rate paid by commercial businesses.

TPP says it is part of an alliance that includes the National Family Farm
Coalition. This could leave the impression that the ads represent
mainstream thought in farm country. TPP's board of directors includes
representatives of the International Forum on Globalization, Rainforest
Action Network, IATP and the International Center for Technology
Assessment.

Food campaign. The As You Sow Foundation (AYSF) and the Interfaith Center
on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) urge shareholders of food companies to
ban GM ingredients in food products. ICCR, which represents $45 billion of
investments from religious institutions, files no tax returns because the
IRS considers it a church.

In June, seven nonprofit groups launched a new campaign, the Genetically
Engineered Food Alert, in 20 cities. The goal is to remove GM foods from
grocery shelves "until they are fully tested and labeled." The first
targets were Campbell Soup Company and Kellogg's. Another 18 companies are
to be targeted in coming months.

A key player in the food campaign is Andrew Kimbrell, head of the Center
for Food Safety, a leader of the Turning Point Project and a protégé of
anti-biotech activist Jeremy Rifkin.

Author of a 1998 lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
biotech food policies, Kimbrell's goal is to influence upcoming FDA
regulations on biotech food labeling.

Ironically, the technology that has shrunk the globe helps these groups
flourish, including those who oppose globalization. The Internet is a key
factor in bringing fringe political groups into full view. It makes
planning and coordination of protests fast and inexpensive among far-flung
groups.

"Without Internet organizing, these protests [at international trade and
political meetings] couldn't have happened," says Tom Lalley of
Environmental Media Services.

EMS and AYSF are projects of the California-based Tides Center, which
provides nonprofit status and management for 300 projects in 40 states and
12 countries.

In May, EMS launched a new web site, www.cropchoice.com, which aims to
give farmers "unbiased independent news about what is happening with
agriculture and biotech science," says EMS's Lalley.

One of the most generous environmental funders is Ted Turner, media mogul
and mega-rancher, owning 1.7 million acres of ranchland in the western
United States.

His Turner Foundation, headed by Peter Bahouth, former head of Greenpeace
USA, contributed $419,558 in 1997 to Tides for its EMS project. The Turner
Foundation also has aided many biotech and globalization opponents, from
the Rainforest Action Network to Greenpeace.

Turner's much publicized 10-year, $1 billion gift to the UN goes to NGOs
that have UN consultative status. The UN prohibits gifts from individuals.
In the first year of operation, Turner's UN Foundation gave $1.25 million
to the Earth Council to create an international system for trading
greenhouse gas emissions.

Rules needed. No matter what their mission, NGOs should be subject to a
code of conduct, says Anthony Adair, senior associate at the Centre for
Independent Studies in Australia.

"There is a double standard operating here under which companies have to
meet extremely high public expectations about their economic,
environmental and social performance," he notes.

"Their chief critics, NGOs, are able to conduct themselves without formal
restraint apart from the criminal law and without any requirement for them
to show social responsibility," Adair says.

+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+++

From: Andrew Apel
Subject: Gaia theorists

Colleagues,

Vandana Shiva, Mae Wan-Ho and other eco-reactionaries who base their
agendas on Gaia make a subtle assumption. That is the assumption that Gaia
is extremely fragile.

Whether or not you agree with the Gaia theory, according to which the life
on Earth is actually one humongous self-regulating organism, it is
undeniable that life is tremendously durable and tenacious.... at toxic
chemical dumps, where one would expect to find no life at all, one finds
bacteria thriving, which gobble the toxins gleefully. The Amazon rain
forest is only 20,000 years old, yet home to countless species.

This resilient planet has seen meteorite impacts, and even its poles have
changed (the North Pole used to be in the Sahara) due to the wobbling
induced by the weight of Arctic ice. Volcanoes and the burning of the
North American prairies by the original settlers (called 'Indians')
released tons of dioxins into the ecosystem.

Ice ages have forced the migration or extinction of innumerable species.

If one ascribes to the Gaia theory, one is constrained, I think, to agree
that Gaia is so durable that she wouldn't even sneeze at biotech.

+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+

(I welcome Joseph Houseal back to the group; he just returned from his
trip to Ladakh, India....... CSP!)

Subj: "Paradise Now: Creating the Genetic Revolution" at Exit Art New York
From: Zeami2000@aol.com

Media artist Kevin Clarke produces 'DNA portraits' through blood samples
he " processes like rolls of film." He will debut in the US a new work
"The Essential James Watson" from September 9 in show titled above at New
York's Exit Art Gallery. ( http://www.exitart.org )

The work is made by splicing an electropherogram of Watson's HLA-DQ-alpha
portion of DNA with other digital images, and then printing in six
29-by-96 inch panels. Curator Carole Kismaric hopes the work along with
those of other artists who feature chilling photos of biotech labs, and
computer generated triplets ( as well as one of Watson's first double
helix models ) will " bring the implications of genetic research into
visual focus." JH

+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+
Subj: Another anti-biotech rant by Shiva
From: "Barry Hearn"

From the Japan Times, while raving against globalisation Shiva `also
labelled genetic modification a "war against nature, women and children."`
Sigh...

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?nn20000906b4.htm

Globalization seen as bane of environment By MAYA KANEKO Kyodo News; The
Japan Times: Sept. 6, 2000

KITAKYUSHU -- An award-winning environmental activist from India who
specializes in agricultural and food issues warned that ongoing
globalization could destroy the environment and called on women in
particular to counter the trend. Vandana Shiva, 47, who was here until
Monday for a one-day conference on women and the environment, said
globalization "wipes out farmers and small producers" and allows
monopolization by large corporations that often adopt policies detrimental
to the environment.

The founder and director of the Research Foundation for Science,
Technology and Ecology in India served as a panelist at Sunday's Women's
Conference on the Environment in Asia and the Pacific, which was held on
the sidelines of a ministerial conference of the U.N. Economic and Social
Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

At the meeting, the scientist, a recipient of numerous awards, including
being named on the 1993 Global 500 Roll of Honor by the U.N. Environment
Program, also labeled genetic modification a "war against nature, women
and children."

She said that with the advent of globalization, decisions affecting the
environment are being made by distant bodies, including the World Bank,
the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization,
stripping each government of the power to strike effective accords.

"WTO rules decide what will happen to your forests, your rivers, your
lands and your biodiversity," Shiva said, suggesting that international
conferences such as the ESCAP meeting will not influence policy unless
governments retrieve their sovereignty.

As to the connection between women and environmental problems, Shiva said
both have been affected by "capitalist patriarchy" -- a way of thinking
that is based on the pursuit of money and on male dominance, she said.

"(It) treats nature as an exploitable resource (and) therefore destroys
the environment. It also treats women as a second sex. Nature is meant to
be used as women are meant to be used."

The former nuclear physicist also pointed out that many environmental
protection movements in the world have been led by women.

Shiva said that a campaign launched 25 years ago by Indian women to
protect Himalayan forests became the first environmental movement in the
country and eventually succeeded in changing national forestry policies.

"It's the same thing in industrialized countries," she said. "Who are
fighting the environmental disasters? The women. They've been made
socially responsible for the environment. And what we're saying is we
don't want to be just responsible. We want to have the rights to protect
it. Because we want to look after the planet, our children and all of
society."

Shiva said women do not necessarily need to become politicians to make
changes, noting that in India, women engaged in Himalayan forest
protection brought about reform by acting outside the political system.

"Women act where they are. That is the important thing to recognize,"
Shiva said, adding that this enables dominated women to come out front and
seek an alternative way that can create a sustainable future, peace and
equality.